It is still on hard to reconcile the differences between places like Delhi and Hong Kong. The high rises, smooth roads, and shopping malls are in stark contrast to the dusty, bumpy roads in India and the poverty.
It felt good to look back on our trip to India and know that we not only have some powerful images to share with the world, but that we also made a connection with those who are impacted by the electronic waste and we learned how to better advocate for them.
We went to mainland China for a day to meet with some of the production workers of electronics. Sheila and I were both very excited to be able to visit mainland China.
We first met with two women probably in their early thirties who told us that they were too old to work in other production areas and that is why they had to work in the electronic sector – which pays less. It made me wonder if they do not want to use younger workers for electronics as many reproductive problems have been associated with electronic workers.
The women worked 10 hours a day, six days a week. Standing the whole time. One of the workers was impacted by the toxic fumes that were released from the plastic after the electrical component was inserted into a child’s toy. The smell – she said was pervasive. Next we met with two more workers in their dorms. We couldn’t meet in a community center, because organizing workers is illegal in China. We met with three women working in factories for MP3 players and a print manufacturer. All three women worked 6 days a week, 10 hours a day.
I truly do not understand why corporations do not feel responsible for those who are helping to make a profit for them. Has it always been this way? Can we ever make it change?
As consumers, I do think that this is our power. We need to take more responsibility with the power we have with our purchases.
-Lauren Ornelas (Campaign Director, SVTC)